Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Vendor Request for Material Review
In October 2000, General Dynamics Armament Systems implemented an on-line Vendor Request for Material Review, an innovative approach to address the reporting through resolution process for vendor-supplied, non- conforming parts. This approach was part of a broader Supply Chain Management business-wide focus. The system is automated; operates in a collaborative, web-based work environment; and emphasizes customer involvement and collaborative resolution of non-conformance issues.
General Dynamics Armament Systems’ (GDAS’) heritage approach to non-compliance reporting and resolution was paper based, cumbersome, and administratively intensive. To resolve this situation, the company implemented the Vendor Request for Material Review (VRMR), an on-line approach to address the reporting through resolution process for vendor-supplied, non-conforming parts. The system is built on the proven process structure of the heritage approach. However, the heritage functions are now streamlined, automated, and operate in a collaborative web-based work environment. As a result, the collaborative work environment promotes open and timely communications which reduce resolution cycle times. Paper documentation is also minimized, and real-time communication and updating are achieved.
Supplier commitment is key to the success of the VRMR system. Suppliers submit non-conformance issues and provide cause and proposed corrective actions. Once submitted, these actions are evaluated by a multi-disciplined team at GDAS in collaboration with the supplier. Dispositions are promptly approved and communicated in real- time. Inherent to the VRMR system’s structure is a comprehensive database of part histories and supplier performance. The on-line system provides users with simple menu-based access to the database as well as an array of easy-to-use filters. This setup enables the user to focus on key data and trends, which is especially useful for supplier evaluation, trade studies, design studies, and company strategic planning. Additionally, suppliers recognize that performance trends are automatically reported and will influence the supplier selection process.
GDAS implemented the on-line VRMR system in October 2000. Of the company’s 320 primary suppliers, 64 are fully transitioned to the on-line system. These suppliers are effectively using the system; strongly endorse the automated approach; and have reported an average time savings of 50%. Typical on-line reporting through resolution cycle times are three days, compared to six days with the previous method. In addition, the on-line system promotes customer involvement and collaborative resolution of non-conformance issues.
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